Leica M3


TPF Noob!
Mar 11, 2006
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Hello -

I am in the business of junk removal. Obviously, not everything we take away is junk. I came across this camera in a garage of a now deceased woman. It apparently belonged to her husband or father who was a captain in the army...it came with lots of great photos from postwar Japan and the Phillipines. I triple-checked with her daughter to see if she wanted to keep it (I could tell it was a quality piece of equipment), but she said no.

From the research I have done it appears to be very desirable, so I am trying to gather as much information as I can about it before I consider selling it. It might be a good excuse to take up photography if I decide to just hold onto it!

I am very excited about this find and any info about it or how much it could sell for would be greatly appreciated

Anyways here are the pictures:



Leica has a cult following and good examples are much sought-after. The serial number on this M3 indicates it was made in 1957, and depending on the condition (which looks very good) you could probably get £300 for the body on eBay. The lens is a 50mm Summicron, and I saw one a little later than this go for £200. So, maybe as much as £500 on a good day (multiply by 1.8 to get US dollars), but condition counts for a lot, and of course your mileage may vary.

The M3 doesn't have a light meter, so it may not be the best camera to learn with, but I wouldn't sell it if I wanted to get into photography. I'd start with something more modern and then come back to this later.

Keep it and shoot with it. No other camera gives you so much satisfaction! You have the Single Stroke M3 with preview lever, which are more desirable than the Double Stroke (earlier ones). They're built to last, the Summicrons are also one of the best lenses out there. I also have an M3 and love shooting with it.

If you want to sell it though, be patient and look to see how much they go for on Ebay and camera stores. From the looks of it, it's in very good shape and you can get anywhere between $500 to $1000 on the body alone, other $500 to $800 for the lens.

Good luck with it either way.
OMG! what a find! you're so lucky! if i found that and got it for free, i think i'd die of shock! leica's are amazing cameras! i would recommend you keep it if you're even thinking of getting into photo
Thanks fo rall the help guys. I've always thought about getting into photography, but never seriously enough to go out and buy quality equipment. I'm sure there's a lot more I would need to invest in besides just a camera.

I am more naturally a performance artist vs presentational; I spend my creative time either playing saxophone/bass guitar or spinning poi. I can imagine that photographers are just as attached to their cameras as I am to my instruments and fire toys! Well maybe not the poi stuff since I can just make new toys myself. So when I think about it that way, it becomes a lot harder to sell it, as it could mean a LOT to somebody, if not me. But if the price is right who knows...but I would rather hand it over to a user instead of a collector (better yet, both); seeing quality vintage saxophones sitting on a wall drives me CRAZY.

Mitica - I played with it a little bit and it is actually a two-stroke, which is consistent with the serial # list I found somewhere on the net. I can't find anything about a preview lever and I don't know what that is, so I don't know if this has one or not. Also, according to the list, it has a metal pressure plate instead of glass (again, no idea what that's for) and I read something somwhere else that if there is a script "L" on the black dot at the top of the lens mount on the body that it was last serviced at the factory or very early in it's life. So I looked and the "L" is there. Is that common?

This is a really long shot, but if anybody knows of any photographer who might want this, and has either a vintage Selmer Mark VI alto sax or a recent model Yanagisawa straight soprano...let's make a deal!!
drewjitsu said:
I'm sure there's a lot more I would need to invest in besides just a camera.

not so. you've taken care of two of the most expensive parts of it. the camera and lens. as for the rest, you'd only need a bag and flash and some film. not too much to spend. and that leica could put you out a couple 'o pretty pennies had you not come upon it as you had. the ultimate decision is up to you, but i say you're in quite in quite a good situation if you wanted to get started

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